Today was another fun day in the sun. We started out as usual, gathering in the lobby and then loading the bus to get to our destination. We were all very surprised then when five minutes after we boarded, the bus stopped and we were told to get off. After a quick walk down to the dock, we all loaded onto a small wooden boat and set sail for two remote islands off the coast. The boat was extremely rocky, with several members of the group getting seasick along the way. Others, though, greatly enjoyed the fresh and sunshine, taking the time to sunbathe on the roof. Forty-five minutes in, we made our first stop off the coast of a small island, Koh Tas, where there was a coral reef we were able to snorkel around. It was so much fun to jump off the boat in our snorkel gear and explore the clear water for wildlife. We had to be careful, though, as the water was not very deep and there were many sea urchins about. The coral and sea urchins were beautiful, some having cool designs and others with interesting colors. Before we left the island, we could not resist taking a few extra jumps (or cannonballs) into the warm salty water.
Once we were all properly soaked and refreshed, we loaded the boat again for another hour to reach our final destination, a secluded beach on Koh Rong Samloem island. This was the most beautiful white sandy beach any of us had ever seen. We practically raced off the boat in order to sink our toes in the cool sand and dive into the crystal clear water. After some swimming and a game of beach volleyball, our crew headed to a small restaurant right on the beach where we ate fresh crab, squid, shrimp and fish. Everyone left the table messy, content, and dreading going back to Mid-Western frozen seafood.
After lunch we all gathered around in the shade for our final class. While we covered many logistics regarding our departure and the course requirements due before the end of term, the main portion of class was dedicated to reflection. Our three weeks here have been packed with a wide variety of actives and adventures, so we had a hard time picking favorite memories. Going around the group, though, we can safely say that everyone has been deeply moved by Cambodia and will forever hold this trip close to their heart.
After our poignant class and a little more swimming, we all begrudgingly got back on the boat and returned to Sihanoukville. Once on land again, everyone felt very drained from the sun, and thus decided to have a quick dinner before heading back to the hotel. Hopefully everyone has enough energy to pack up their belongings tonight! We think everyone would agree, though, that today was the perfect last full day in Cambodia.